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Block Island Wind Farm offline all summer

Ørsted, the Danish energy company that purchased the wind farm from the original developers, Deepwater Wind, said that four of the five turbines were taken offline earlier this summer as a precaution after GE, the manufacturer of the 6-megawatt turbines, identified the stress lines in the turbines.

The Block Island Wind Farm, the nation’s only utility scale offshore wind farm, has been largely inoperable for at least several weeks, possibly months, after inspectors discovered “stress lines” in the turbines.

Ørsted, the Danish energy company that purchased the wind farm from the original developers, Deepwater Wind, said that four of the five turbines were taken offline earlier this summer as a precaution after GE, the manufacturer of the 6-megawatt turbines, identified the stress lines in the turbines.

A company spokesperson said that the stress lines are being repaired and that a full risk assessment determined the 580-foot-tall turbines are structurally sound.

The company has declined to say where on the turbines the issues were discovered, what the repairs entail or exactly how long the wind turbines have been inoperable.

New Shoreham Councilwoman Martha Ball said on Tuesday morning that she was told the turbines had been offline since May, though she said she did not specifically know that to be the case. She said the island is drawing power from the mainland, not running on the emergency backup generators it has kept in place since switching to a three-way... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Block Island Wind Farm, the nation’s only utility scale offshore wind farm, has been largely inoperable for at least several weeks, possibly months, after inspectors discovered “stress lines” in the turbines.

Ørsted, the Danish energy company that purchased the wind farm from the original developers, Deepwater Wind, said that four of the five turbines were taken offline earlier this summer as a precaution after GE, the manufacturer of the 6-megawatt turbines, identified the stress lines in the turbines.

A company spokesperson said that the stress lines are being repaired and that a full risk assessment determined the 580-foot-tall turbines are structurally sound.

The company has declined to say where on the turbines the issues were discovered, what the repairs entail or exactly how long the wind turbines have been inoperable.

New Shoreham Councilwoman Martha Ball said on Tuesday morning that she was told the turbines had been offline since May, though she said she did not specifically know that to be the case. She said the island is drawing power from the mainland, not running on the emergency backup generators it has kept in place since switching to a three-way power connection between the wind turbines and the mainland, where excess power produced by the wind farm in winter but not needed by the island’s smattering of year-round residents is directed.

She said that she was unaware the shut-down was anything other than the routine annual maintenance that is done on the turbines every August — though she noted that she had thought it odd the maintenance had started early when told the turbines were down in May.

Some Montauk fishermen have said they noticed that most of the wind turbines stopped spinning in June or July, though few were fishing in the area around the wind farm earlier than that.

Several fishermen said last week that they have seen workers cleaning a brown fluid off the side of the turbine towers.

“I’ve been close and it looks like grease to me,” said Captain Dan Giunta, a charter fisherman who also shared a photo he took of a worker climbing along one of the three 240-foot long blades on each turbine.

Ørsted spokesperson Meaghan Wims said the work on the blades was part of the routine maintenance and not the repair of the structural issues.

She said that there has been no interruption of the power supply to the island and no impact on electrical rates for residents because the power supply agreement Ørsted has with National Grid guarantees level rates in the event of a problem with the wind farm.

The Block Island Wind Farm was the first offshore wind-generated electrical source in America when it came online in 2016. The electricity from the turbines replaced diesel powered generators that had powered the island for decades, costing New Shoreham’s taxpayers dearly as fuel costs rose. Ms. Ball said that energy costs for the island’s residents dropped about 10 percent when the wind farm came online, and 30 percent from a few years earlier.

The wind farm has had previous technical issues. The power cord that brings power ashore at the island’s main public beach and then sends it to the Rhode Island mainland was exposed by erosion more than two years ago, and National Grid, which took over responsibility for the cables from Deepwater Wind when the project was completed, has struggled with getting a re-burying project underway.

Nonetheless, Ms. Ball, a native of New Shoreham who has lived in the town for all of her 70 years, said that most of the island’s residents are happy with the wind farm. She acknowledged there have been some complaints about aesthetics from those who can see them from their water-view homes, but wondered if similar complaints weren’t heard when the Southeast Light lighthouse was built in the 1870s.

Ørsted and several other companies have plans to build several hundred more turbines —some nearly twice the size of those at Block Island — in the ocean another 20 miles from Block Island, 35 miles or more from Montauk, starting as soon as next year.

Ms. Wims said the paused turbines are expected to be operational again soon.

“Our ongoing routine summer maintenance continues at the wind farm. The summer is the optimal time for maintenance, inspections and other necessary repair work,” she said in a statement emailed to The Press. “We expect to complete those repairs and all maintenance in the next few weeks as scheduled.”


Source: https://www.27east.com/east...

AUG 10 2021
https://www.windaction.org/posts/52692-block-island-wind-farm-offline-all-summer
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